John F. McCray, a well-known and progressive farmer of Brown township, this county proprietor of a fine farm of one hundred and thirty acres in the Wilkinson neighborhood, is a native of Hancock county and has lived here all his life. He was born on a farm in Brown township, not far from his present home, November 5, 1866, son of John and Mary F. (Brown) McCray, prominent residents of that community.
John McCray was born in Fayette county, this state, November 19, 1827, son of Moses and Jane (Sparks) McCray, natives of North Carolina, the former of whom was born in 1794 and the latter in January, 1801, who were the parents of thirteen children, of whom ten lived to maturity, Phineas, Mary, William, Rachel, John, Stephen, James, Martha, Nancy and Moses. The elder Moses McCray emigrated with his family from North Carolina to Indiana and settled in Fayette county, coming thence, in 1835, in Hancock county. He homesteaded a tract of land in Brown township and presently became one of the most extensive landowners in the county, the owner of sixteen hundred acres of land. He was active in the work of organizing the pioneer community into a civic entity, was one of the first school teachers in Brown township and helped to build the first Primitive Baptist church in that vicinity, being a charter member of the same. In his political faith he was an ardent Whig and was active in the early political affairs of the county. Moses McCray died on May 5, 1883. His wife had long preceded him, her death having occurred on December 12, 1864.
John McCray was seven or eight years old when his parents moved from Fayette county to Hancock county in 1835 and he grew to manhood on the homestead farm, doing his part in the development of his father's extensive interest thereabout. He early began farming on his own account and eventually became the owner of about five hundred acres of excellent land. In 1854 he married Mary F. Brown, who was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, March 17, 1831, daughter of Samuel B. and Jemima J. Brown, the former of whom, born in Winchester, New Hampshire, April 22, 1785, died at his home in this county, April 26, 1863, and the latter born in Culpeper county, Virginia, in 1796, died on January 19, 1874. John McCray and his wife were among the charter members of the Nameless Creek church and later became charter members of the Warrington Christian church. Mr. McCray was not only active and influential in the religious life of the community but took an active part in political affairs. Originally a Whig, he became a Republican upon the organization of that party and remained devoted to the principles of that party. He died on May 9, 1915. He and his wife were the parents of eight children, of whom the subject of this biographical sketch is the fifth in order of birth, the others being Alice, Mary J., Samuel N., Anna, Harriet, Martha J. and Leora Frances, the latter of whom is engaged in teaching in California.
In October, 1889, John F. McCray was united in marriage to Mary J. Addison, daughter of S. M. and Elizabeth Addison, of this county, and to this union two children have been born, daughters both, Harriet E., who died at the age of nineteen years, and Essie F., who is a member of Hancock's admirable teaching force, a teacher in the schools of her home township. Mr. ad Mrs. McCray and Miss McCray are members of the Christian church at Warrington and take an earnest interest in the various social and cultural activities of their home community. Mr. McCray is a Republican and takes a good citizen's part in the political affairs of the county, but is not included in the office-seeking class.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 883-885.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 20, 2001.
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